Gloriously witty adaptation of the Broadway musical about Professor Henry Higgins, who takes a bet from Colonel Pickering that he can transform unrefined, dirty Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady, and fool everyone into thinking she really is one, too! He does, and thus young aristocrat Freddy Eynsford-Hill falls madly in love with her. But when Higgins takes all the credit and forgets to acknowledge her efforts, Eliza angrily leaves him for Freddy, and suddenly Higgins realizes he's grown accustomed to her face and can't really live without it. Written by
Despite extensive vocal training after landing the part of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964), Rex Harrison was unable to sing a note. In the end the director gave up and told him to quasi-speak the whole thing as he had done in the stage version. See more »
In the pub scene ("I'm getting married in the morning") none of the beer glasses are of British design. See more »
[sounds from crowd, occasionally a word or phrase, indistinct and mostly not associated with a character]
Don't just stand there, Freddy, go and find a cab.
All right, I'll get it, I'll get it.
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In the posters, playbills and the original cast album for the stage version of "My Fair Lady", the credits always read "based on Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' ", letting the audience know what play "My Fair Lady" was actually adapted from. The movie credits simply read "from a play by Bernard Shaw". See more »
"My Fair Lady" made theater history when it opened on Broadway. The waiting for tickets to see the show was something unheard of for a sellout musical. Lerner and Loewe, its creators, probably never thought they had the tremendous hit it became, at all. The film version of "My Fair Lady" came to the screen via George Cukor, a man who knew about the movie business well.
The film resonated with audiences because of the immensely elegant finished product Mr. Cukor offered the world. Of course, the film is helped by the genius of Cecil Beaton, who had the eye for the right style. Mr. Beaton served as art director and had a thing to say about the fabulous costumes assembled for the movie. The Ascot race sequence is a tribute to his sense of elegance.
Rex Harrison, repeating the role of Professor Higgins that he originated on Broadway, gives a stellar performance. Not having seen him on stage, at least one can imagine how he amazed audiences that flocked to see the show. In the film he makes an absolutely delightful Higgins, a man of science who can't see what's in front of him. The transformation he achieves in turning the Cockney flower girl into a lady of elegance, is perhaps, something he didn't even think he would be able to pull. In Mr. Harrison's performance one can see how Eliza warms this confirmed bachelor into accepting her in a romantic way.
Audrey Hepburn was chosen over Julie Andrews, the original Eliza on Broadway, in a move that puzzled everyone in the theatrical world. How could Eliza be played by anyone else, let alone that someone else would be that charming actress Audrey Hepburn? Ms. Hepburn's Eliza is a delicious characterization; her take on the poor flower girl starts slowly, taking us with her all the way. We fall in love with Eliza, the character, as played brilliantly by Ms. Hepburn, who knew how to charm us with her beauty and easy elegance in everything she did.
The English cast was wonderful. Stanley Holloway, a veteran of the English cinema played Alfred P. Doolitlle, Eliza's father. Mr. Holloway is charming every time one sees him. Gladys Cooper, one of the first ladies of the English stage, is seen as Mrs. Higgins, a grande dame of society, who is charmed by Eliza and knows her son will end up loving the girl of his experiment. Wilfred Hyde-White, another distinguished actor plays Col. Pickering, Higgins' ally and friend. Jeremy Brett plays the playboy Freddy, the man that loves the street where Eliza lives!
Of course, what makes "My Fair Lady" special is the great musical score by Mr. Loewe with lyrics by Mr. Lerner. Most of the songs are by now, standards that have delighted us since they were written and have been sung by practically all the best singers of the world.
Mr. Cukor deserves credit for directing this film with his usual flair as he feasts our eyes with a stunning film that will always be loved by whoever watches it.
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